HAVANA.- Accompanied by legendary dreams and travels, 16 giant sculptures of the mythical Mexican dog Xico have arrived at Havana’s Plaza de San Francisco de Asis, the same place that was temporarily home to the famous “Buddy Bears” and their message of tolerance.
The site in Havana’s oldest district will host the large pieces (1.8m high) in the Xico’s Latin American Tour exhibition.
Project coordinator, Cristina Pineda, told The Havana Reporter that eight Cuban artists and others from Panama, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico contributed to the creation of the works based upon pre-colombian Mexican God-like tradition.
Bringing the pieces to Havana proved to be quite a challenge but we did receive an immediate response to our request.
She said that the initiative is the result of all the volunteers and it is thanks to them that we managed to achieve this Latin American focal point.
“With respect to other Xico exhibitions, this one holds the magic required to rescue continental legends through the little dog that represents a wise voice of the people.”
Pineda explained that the idea now is to enrich the initiative through collaboration with children and young people who can also contribute with versions of Xico molded from clay.
Noticing that her nephews preferred toys that replicated foreign characters such as Mickey Mouse and the Powerpuff Girls, the Mexican artist was inspired to create a representation that transmitted the cultural legacy of the Axtec nation.
She thinks however that Xico “is a character that not only children can identify with, but the people in general too”.
“It is very important that the pieces form a street exhibition because this facilitates interactions with many people”.
The institution’s director told us how six years ago Cristina Pineda came to Old Havana’s Casa del Benemérito de las Américas Benito Juárez, with a small sliver dipped sculptor of Xico and a mountain of projects.
Other pieces began to arrive, inspired by the Xoloitzcuintle dog – a twin brother of Quetzalcoatl - who guides his master’s soul to overcome his obstacles and to reach his ultimate destiny.
He told how Cristina had absorbed pre-colombian Mexican culture in order to create Xico and convert him into a symbol of Latin American identity.
Juan Jose Bremen, the Mexican ambassador in Cuba believes that the Xico Latin America tour is the fruit of Pineda’s exceptional imagination, will, and creative powers.
The diplomat said that the works hold an important metaphoric charge and that the artist has created a new reality for a symbol of Mexican culture and converted it into a Latin American dog.
In Cuba, the artists who partook in the project offered their own visions of the figure. For example, Havana painter, Francisco Gordillo, recreated the symbolism and significance of the dog in Afro-Cuban religion in his contribution.
For the Muraleando community project promoter Victor Mora, the project also represents an opportunity to divulge the work of creators on the island.
The 16 works also pay tribute to the anniversary of the founding of Havana on November 16.
The pieces were on show until December 12, the date that Catholics honor the Virgin of Guadalupe, a symbol of Mexico, but they will remain in Cuba because Pineda has donated the exhibits which she hopes to later bring to other heritage cities.Share on FB Share on TT